Finances & Money

The MINI Cooper is sick!

For our holiday trip to PA, we took my Honda Ridgeline, even though we’ve proven the cost efficiency of driving the MINI over the truck. Honestly, we needed the extra space for gifts and for a reclined seat for my back.

We got back Tuesday night, and on Wednesday, Stacie had to go to work. I found out via phone later from Stacie that the MINI wouldn’t start so she took my truck to work. Once I rolled out of bed and hobbled out to the car, I found that sure enough it would only click-click-click when I turned the key. The windows were rather sluggish, and the CD wouldn’t come out on the first try, so I assumed it was the battery. Neither Stacie nor I noticed any lights on when we got in the car, so I don’t know yet why the battery died.

I went inside the house and looked up how much a new battery would be. But then I recalled it’s still under warranty. The problem is the closest MINI dealer is about 25-30 miles away, and I didn’t know how we would get it there. Honestly, I never had this problem with a car, even though the Malibu wouldn’t start a couple time too. I was thinking I would have to pay to get it towed, or have to jumpstart it and drive it there.

I went back out and popped the hood just to look some things over and noticed a plastic reservoir that was empty. A few weeks ago, I noticed it was low on fluid, but I didn’t know what type of fluid went in. It’s blue, but the icon was a windshied with an X over it. I learned later that it was the coolant. The coolant was all gone! Good thing I noticed, because that sealed the deal that I would have it towed.

I called the dealership and they gave me the MINI Roadside Assistance phone number. I’ve had this type of service with our other vehicles, but never used it before. I called them up and told them the problem. I had to change the owner information as the last person was still listed, and then they gave me the options of driving or towing. Obviously, I chose to have it towed to the dealer. The service was free as it was under warranty still.

They said it would be about 90 minutes. After about 45 minutes, I got a call from the tow truck driver to confirm the location, etc., and then in another 45 minutes, he was outside with the flatbed. He pushed the car out of the driveway himself (up a little hill) and coasted it down right onto the flatbed. The car was so cute on that giant truck. After buckling it down, it was off to the dealer, while I went back to bed.

Unfortunately, since I had a doctor appt, I couldn’t ride down to the dealer with him. Had I gone, I expect I would have gotten a loaner car, which would make for a much easier retrieval of the MINI when it’s done. Another unfortunate thing is they seem to be backlogged so they aren’t getting the car into the shop until tonight, and won’t have a status for me until tomorrow (Friday) morning). Yes, Nick, I know that’s why you don’t recommend MINI of Sterling. Now be quiet, they would only tow to the closest dealer.

And this is why we keep the Pontiac. Oh, right, it’s still not cost-effective to have 3 cars for the rare chance one breaks down and I need to use another one, but I like to have an excuse, however flimsy it is.

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Clever Dude


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